Planning a wedding can be tough. Making it environmentally friendly can be even tougher. Here we’ve put together the main things to consider when planning an environmentally friendly wedding.
Let’s start with the planning process. To make your wedding a little more environmentally friendly try not to print anything you don’t need to. Wedding apps and websites like Pinterest are a great way to keep all your ideas in one place and online.
Try looking at some e-magazines instead of the real printed versions. If you can’t resist the physical thing, try and contact some other newly engaged couples to share your magazines with.
When it comes to choosing your wedding suppliers there are lots of questions you can ask to make sure that your wedding is environmentally friendly as possible.
The location of your venue is probably the most important thing to consider. If all your guests have to travel a long distance then the emissions will rise. If you’re having your ceremony and reception in different places, consider hiring a bus to take guests between the two. If this isn’t possible, ask guests to consider carpooling.
You should check a few things with the venue itself. Ask about their environmental policies. Do they recycle? What happens to their food waste? What are they doing to try and reduce their carbon footprint? If they have a good policy in place the answers to these questions should come easily. It’s also worth checking their confetti policy; a lot of venues now only allow biodegradable confetti (no glitter or plastics).
Look for caterers that use locally sourced ingredients. This includes things like your wedding cake too! Make sure they don’t use disposable plates, cups or cutlery either with wedding guests or behind the scenes. Talk to them about their portion sizes so that there’s no food waste.
If physical stationary is a must have for you, there are still a couple of things you can do. Find a supplier who prints on recycled paper. Design your invitations and save the dates to fit onto one sheet to reduce the amount of paper used. When it comes to place names for the wedding breakfast, consider alternatives. Having names put onto the wedding favours can save money and the environment!
If you don’t feel you need physical stationary then a wedding website is a great way to go. All the information guests need is in one place, and there’s no paper involved at all.
Your wedding dress and suit should be everything you want them to be, but you can make environmentally conscious decisions here too. Look for designers that have good green policies. (If you’re unsure speak to the wedding boutique in advance.) You should also be looking at designers that use sustainable fabrics and offer fair wages.
Another excellent option here is to hire your outfits. While this is widely done with menswear, it is becoming more popular with dresses too. It’s also worth looking at pre-loved options in your area – there’s an amazing charity shop in Barnsley who has a store fully dedicated to weddings!
We absolutely love wedding flowers, but we know they’re not always the most environmentally friendly options. Try looking into real plants as well as your floral arrangements. When speaking to your florist ask them to source your bouquet locally, and not to use oasis.
Alternatives to bouquets are also available. Button or brooch bouquets look amazing and can be kept for years after your day. Fully recycled flowers from places like Eco Blooms look real while still saving the environment.
If you’re booking a venue styling company with a good ethical code then you’re sorted. If however, you’re doing your own venue styling there are a few things to consider. Make sure you purchase items that can be re-used after your day, even if it’s not by you. There are websites that bring past and future brides together to swap items and help each other and the environment.
In both cases, avoid having balloons or sky lanterns. They’re both one time use items, and considered one of the worst things for local wildlife.
Hair & Makeup
Do your research on hair and makeup artists. Ask about the brands they use, and check they’re cruelty free and ethically sourced. There’s a list of cruelty free brands that are also vegan over on Peta’s website.
After Your Day
When your wedding day is over, make sure that you donate/pass on/sell all the items you said you would. If items needed recycling, check that it happened. It’s so easy to throw everything into one large bin at the end of the evening!
If you want to take your environmentally friendly wedding one step further, think about your honeymoon. Stay local and try to keep your emissions as low as possible here too.
Looking for more wedding planning tips? Take a look at the Wedding Tips section of the blog for more inspiration.